UNC students hold sit-in protest outside Chancellor's office in support of Palestinians

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Friday, October 27, 2023
UNC student group calls for boycott of companies that support Israel
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A group of students held a sit-in Friday outside the Chancellor's office at the University of North Carolina.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A group of students held a sit-in outside the Chancellor's office at the University of North Carolina.

The students call themselves UNC Students for Justice in Palestine. They numbered approximately 100 when they sat and chanted outside the South Building on UNC's quad Friday afternoon.

SEE ALSO | Family with Durham ties among those taken hostage by Hamas

As negotiators work to release hostages taken by Hamas, one couple has ties to North Carolina.

The students delivered a letter to the chancellor's office asking the university to create a panel around better understanding the Israel and Hamas conflict. They also demanded it boycott Israeli products.

"Companies that have showed support for Israel or are based within Israel. For example, this includes Sabra hummus products offered within dining halls, CAT construction company and Starbucks products," said Malak Dridi, a Raleigh native and organizer of the demonstration.

Dridi voiced her frustration and like others in attendance, wore her support.

"This is called the kakfa," she said as she pointed to her scarf. " It's a scarf many of us wear to show our solidarity with Palestinian resistance."

The demonstration in front of the UNC South Building on campus caught the attention of students heading to classes. It was a cause that made senior student Madison Russell skip school for.

"I just feel like Jewish people are attacked a lot. It's seen throughout history," said Russell. "A lot of evil is happening. A lot of people being hurt. It's sad to see and hear about. I'm hoping for it to end."

The latest violence in the region started Oct. 7 when the militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented surprised attack on Israel -- an attack that Israeli supporters compared to the 9/11 attacks against the United States.

Israel retaliated with a bombing campaign and a total siege of the neighboring Gaza Strip.

ALSO SEE: Pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian rallies take place blocks apart in Raleigh

ABC11's Akilah Davis is at UNC covering the students' sit-in and protest. She'll have a complete report on their demands and actions tonight on ABC11.